The maps that help tell the story of the Cumberland Settlements were produced by George Clements, a friend and not-too-distant-cousin of the author. He is an historic preservationist, a builder, and an artist, and lives with his family in Nashville. He relates the process for creating the maps for Chronicles of the Cumberland Settlements as follows:
“Paul wanted to keep the simplicity of a historic geography such that any of the numerous characters who populate his epoch might, at a glance, identify with the information the maps convey.”George Clements
The mapping process for Chronicles of the Cumberland Settlements was largely a foray into the unknown for us. After consulting with both Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee State University (among others), it seemed for Paul’s project that we were going to have to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Paul wanted to keep the simplicity of a historic geography, uncluttered by all the man-made lakes and so forth, such that any of the numerous characters who populate his epoch might, at a glance, identify with the information the maps convey. Essentially, Paul laid out each individual map, relating to me the specific information he wanted displayed in each. Every map was customized and dictated according to his distinct and precise vision.
Paul Downey, a graphic designer by training and mutual friend, downloaded most of the mapping for the book from the US Geological Survey. I then doctored the maps using Adobe software—Photoshop and Illustrator. Most of the streams I hand-rendered. And the mapping database was grouped into several separate files: a high-resolution file of Middle Tennessee, a high-resolution map of the Clarksville area, a lower resolution map of the state of Tennessee, one of the Southeast region, and an entirely hand-rendered map I made of the East Coast of the US up to Canada (which did not include topography). Most of the action of the book occurs within the narrower scope of Middle Tennessee. I culled through Paul’s notes and illustrated this one map with all the applicable trails, forts, labels, and events over the timeframe encompassed by Paul’s work. For geographic accuracy, I overlaid this map with a customized modern-day map to pinpoint locations according to Paul’s research. I must here acknowledge Jack Masters, whose work on the Founding of the Cumberland Settlements series was a big help siting many of the trails—particularly in the Gallatin area. From this Middle Tennessee map I then partitioned and cropped a multitude of smaller maps according to Paul’s direction to accompany the text of the book.
Originally, all maps were in color, but once the meat of the book was laid out, it evolved into the format of an old newspaper. So I decided to discard the color and go for a simpler look, which saved resources on printing. Maintaining a consistent look among the maps was a difficult task, given the multiple sizes and resolutions of each file, and maintaining a consistent font size in the labeling from page to page was likewise challenging. When all was said and done, it was hoped that we could provide the reader with a simple, if repetitive, reference to locate the action of events in place and time, from page to page, so that the impact of those events could unfold and be felt as we contemplate our own back yards, and the motion of our daily lives in and around Middle Tennessee.